Beetroot has been eaten since Roman times and by the mid-nineteenth Century it had become a very popular vegetable. Beetroot is usually boiled, baked, braised or pickled in vinegar. Red beetroot originated from Beta vulgaris, which is a native of Southern Europe. A red-fleshed round or cylindrical root, it can be used as a freshly cooked hot vegetable or eaten cold with salads. Beetroot is a good source of Vitamin C and folic acid.

Nutritional Value

Nutrient Raw Cooked Pickled
Energy kJ 154 195 117
Kcal 36 46 28
Protein g 1.7 2.3 1.2
Carbohydrate g 7.6 9.5 5.6
Fat g 0.1 0.1 0.2

A good source of…

Nutrient Raw Cooked Pickled
Fibre One Tick One Tick
Vitamin C One Tick One Tick
Folic Acid One TickOne TickOne Tick One Tick

For more information on nutrition and the details given above, check out our nutrition page.

Preparing and Using

When buying beetroot choose small ones if possible. To cook whole, first rinse under cold running water. Cut the stalks to about 2.5cm above the beetroot and don’t cut away the root or peel it. If serving cold in salads or if the recipe calls for chopped or grated beetroot, peel away the skin. To bake in the oven place in a dish with a tightfitting lid. Add 4–5 tbsp of water. Lay a double layer of foil over the dish before putting the lid on and bake in a low oven for 2–3 hours. It’s ready when it begins to wrinkle and the skin can be easily rubbed away. Alternatively simply wrap the beetroot in a double layer of foil and bake as before. To boil beetroot simmer for about one and a half hours. Cooked beetroot can be grated or sliced and served with a salad. It can be pickled, puréed or made into a relish or jam. Jellied beetroot can be used as a garnish. The classic Borscht soup made from beetroot was the staple diet of pre-revolution Russian peasants for hundreds of years. There are many variations but it is usually served with soured cream and dill. Flavours and ingredients that go well with beetroot include soured cream, crème fraiche, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, apple, onion, dill and vinegar.